The Detroit Lions lost in Lambeau Sunday by a score of 34-27. For those who watched the game, it was not as close as the score indicates. Detroit could not stop Aaron Rodgers all day, and Green Bay was only forced to punt twice. The Packers also did not turn the ball over. For Detroit, there was not much positive from the game that they could hang their hats on. The defense was atrocious. Rodgers, who has struggled for 17 straight weeks, passed with ease against Detroit. The linebackers could not stop anyone, and Thurston Armbrister was actually pulled at one point in favor of Zavier Gooden, who was signed this week. The secondary could not stop Jordy Nelson, who seemed to be back in full from his ACL injury. Darius Slay was beat for a 17 yard touchdown, and Nevin Lawson was flagged for a 66 yard pass interference penalty. The front four was a mess as well without start defensive end Ziggy Ansah. They barely pressured Rodgers all game, getting a mere two sacks. If something does not change soon, this defense will get shredded week in and week out, costing the Lions a shot at a playoff spot in an injury riddled NFC North.
The two bright spots in the game have to be both Marvin Jones and Kerry Hyder. Hyder got one of the two sacks in the game, giving him four on the season. Jones had over 200 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns, the highest receiving total for a receiver since Calvin Johnson. Outside of Johnson, it was Roy Williams in 2007 who last had a 200 yard game. Matthew Stafford had a statistically good game, but watching his throws, several of his incompletions should have been interceptions. He did throw one interception but credit for that goes to Eric Ebron as the ball was caught by Ebron and ripped out of his arms. Instead of calling it a fumble, the referees ruled it as a pass that was not yet completed so it was deemed intercepted. Statistically though, Stafford had over 380 yards passing and three touchdowns.
While nothing can be done about their defensive injuries to key players, Detroit needs to do something to stop the bleeding. Teams are shredding them at will without a consistent pass rush. The linebackers are not stopping the run or pass at this point and it appears that outside of Glover Quin, the entire secondary is playing poorly. With the neck injury to Tavon Wilson, the weakest spot in the secondary, their strong safety spot, got even weaker. Rookie Miles Killebrew is the backup to Rafael Bush and Bush has yet to stay healthy in the past few years. It appears that if Wilson misses extended time, the Lions could be looking to the rookie to hold down the safety spot next to Quin.
In years past, we have praised the job that coach Teryl Austin has done with the defense. It is starting to look like the job he did was the result of the talent that was on the defensive side of the ball from when Jim Schwartz was the head coach. Once players hit free agency, the defense got weaker. Each year, they have gotten worse. This year they are close to, if not already, worst in the NFL. If things do not get better, this team is headed for 1-15 and coaches such as Jim Caldwell and Teryl Austin could be out of jobs. This is not ideal considering the job that Jim Bob Cooter is doing with Matthew Stafford right now.